Points of Muse: recent works by New York artists: Amy Bennett, Peter Drake, Alex O’Neal, Jennifer Presant, Jim Rizzo, and Dan Witz.
Opening reception: Friday, July 30th, 2004, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Exhibition runs through Saturday, September 4th, 2004
Linda Warren Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Points of Muse, an exhibition featuring recent works by New York artists Amy Bennett, Peter Drake, Alex O’Neal, Jennifer Presant, Jim Rizzo, and Dan Witz.
In Points of Muse the audience will encounter an assemblage of paintings which figure strongly as portholes into worlds both personal and remote, psychological and conscious, mythological and real. Each artists’ series display their well developed styles and sensibilities and introduces us to new work that have unique and clearly defined starting points, viewing points and musing points.
Amy Bennett’s paintings of a modest, single-family home contrast the comfort and discomfort of the imperfect thing that is family. To begin her journey and exploration into this world, Bennett has built a carefully executed model house with removal walls and ceilings chock full of furniture and recessed lighting. On this self-built stage, in this quintessentially typical American home, psychological tensions of separate lives and emotions emerge. A privileged view into formative, definitive moments of this life: moments of innocence lost, transition, tenderness, loss, and isolation is offered.
Peter Drake’s new work again utilizes his well-recognized style of covert surrealism. By using source material that comes from popular culture made during America’s mythic post-war period to re-explore classical mythologies, Drake’s work compares “small myths” about family and community to the “big myths” that have been handed down to us by all of the world’s cultures. This way, a couple seated at a picnic table staring at a blank hedge row can be waiting for a “Revelation” and “Jupiter Arriving in a Shower of Gold” can be depicted as a man in a business suit holding a vial of golden fluid.
Alex O’Neal’s highly expressive paintings and oil pastel drawings have been more lately influenced by musings on his studio’s ghosts, the locale from which he explores an elaborate and personal language of symbols and images from his visually rich, chaotic Mississippi youth. Materializing in his latest works are bullet-marked stop signs, raucous hippies, homegrown terrorists, various enchanted animal mascots, stop signs and unusual references to American folklore. Like Drake, O’Neal is also captivated by the idea of the American dream, though his imagery is evoked from the pioneer era rather than of the image American advertising presents us, in Drake’s work.
Jennifer Presant is interested in a sense of place. Like O’Neal, her muse is her environment, but in her case, it was Vermont and the light and snowy silence. There on an artist residency program, the seemingly indistinguishable barriers between exterior and interior inspired her to reflect on how that mirrors a psychological state. Like other artists in this exhibit, Presant is taken with the imagery of windows. It is as if these windows are windows to the present, past and future simultaneously.
Jim Rizzo’s paintings on blueprints examine interpersonal relationships and how pieces of our lives assemble to create the architecture of family. The two paintings in this exhibit are the first produced for a new series of work entitled ”The House that Joe Built”. As in the past, Rizzo continues to delve into childhood memories, relationships with his family, and the transcendent connections with others and their own situations.
Dan Witz is fascinated, as the Early Renaissance painters were, with light. His is a light which travels through a lens of transparent color glazes, gathering strength, and then bouncing off the bright white ground, illuminating the canvas with its own private luminosity. Witz begins with the Clement Greenberg proclamation, “Paintings are not windows. “ He then deeply personalizes the idea with his experience of homelessness during the simultaneous time he was taking the source photos of warmly glowing lamps inside suburban windows, which were not his home. Eventually, with time and refinement, the windows evolved into a personal metaphor layered with enough conflict and resonance to sustain him during the arduous process of making the paintings come to life.